For some reason, we don’t hear the dark depth of many of these stories though God seemed just fine with making them a part of the Scriptures for us to read and relate to. We wonder why so many of the stories of the Bible no longer take our breath away. One of the reasons is because there is so much cover-up in Christianity. So much censorship. And that cosmetic touch air brushes out the salacious and sordid stories that hold our attention and make the Bible interesting, dare I say, meaningful.
The genealogy of Jesus is chuck-full of the most absurd individuals living out the most salacious stories…and somehow, they are a part of the family tree of our Savior.
- Outstanding Individuals
We see some famous names in the history of Israel here, from patriarchs to kings. The first ancestors of the Jewish nation were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God called Himself their God (Ex. 3:6). David the king was known as a “man after God’s own heart.” His son Solomon had the temple built in Jerusalem. Other outstanding leaders include Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Zerubbabel. The lives of these men included great military victories and the restoration of true worship.
However, none of these outstanding men were perfect. They had their blemishes, from Abraham’s deceit and affair, to Isaac’s lies, to Jacob’s deception, to David’s adultery, to Solomon’s idolatry and sexual perversion, to Uzziah’s intrusion into the temple to offer incense. Several of these men neglected to train up their children in the ways of the Lord. Even the best of these were still sordid sinners who needed a Savior.
- Outlawed Individuals
God also included rankly wicked kings in this royal lineage. These included Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who purposed to oppress the people of God
Then there was Abijah, Joram, Ahaz, Amon, Jeconiah, & Manasseh
- Obscure Individuals
Finally, we see individuals we know almost nothing about. The names recorded after Zerubbabel are not even mentioned in the Old Testament.
- Outcast Individuals
You could call these “knots on the family tree”. They are all outcasts, showing God’s grace to all sorts of people and nationalities.
• Rahab. This Canaanite harlot became a believer in the true God and hid the Israelite spies from her people (Josh. 2; 6:17, 25). Though she was a prostitute from a pagan nation, God changed her and incorporated her into the genealogy of King Jesus. She is mentioned favorably in James 2:25 and the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11:31.
• Ruth. The Old Testament book of the same name tells the story of this Moabitess. The Moabites were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, by incest with one of his daughters (Gen. 19:30-38). The Moabites were despised by Israel and not allowed to enter the assembly of the Lord (Deut. 23:3). Yet, Ruth followed the true God, married Boaz (one of Rahab’s descendants), and became part of this royal lineage.
• Bathsheba. In Matthew 1:6b, she is not mentioned by name, but is called “her that had been the wife of Uriah.” Second Samuel 11 records the story of David’s seeing this woman bathing and the consequences of acting on his lust for her. He committed adultery and tried to cover up his sin. He first tried deceit to make it look like she was pregnant by her husband. When his first plan did not work, David had Uriah—one of his loyal mighty men (2 Sam. 23:39)—placed on the front lines of battle so he would be killed and Bathsheba would be free to marry. As a judgment on David’s sin, God did not allow their first child to live past infancy. But, in His grace, He allowed Solomon to be part of the royal ancestry.
• Tamar. She had sex with Judah her father-in-law by disguising herself as a prostitute in order to have a child. Her story is nothing short of unbelievable! Check it out in Genesis 38.
God is drawn to the holy, but it seems that he was just as drawn to the humble.
For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Anyone ever felt broken to pieces? Anyone ever felt disqualified from the God thing? Anyone here every felt like chucking in the towel or raising up the white flag of surrender? Anyone ever made a mistake you thought was unpardonable? Anyone ever regretted a decision like an abortion or a divorce? Anyone feeling like they are making up for lost time, years spent in vanity and pride as the hymn so aptly says? Anyone ever fallen on their face? Anyone here every felt like a spiritual failure, an embarrassment to God? Anyone ever felt like they’ve missed opportunities because of selfishness? Anyone ever committed a vile crime? Anyone ever played cover up for years only to be exposed as a fraud? Anyone ever feel like they can’t pull it together? Anyone looking for a miracle to make something of their life of dissipation and disgrace?
Anyone needing grace today? Anyone needing a second chance these days to prove yourself worthy of trust? Anyone dying for mercy for stupid choices leading to the deep hurt of those you love? Anyone needing the healing touch of God to mend up the broken places within? Anyone?
I'm so glad God used and is still using people that are broken for His glory. I sometimes wonder if it's the only kind of person he really uses.